Public perception of Tourette syndrome on YouTube

J Child Neurol. 2012 Aug;27(8):1011-6. doi: 10.1177/0883073811432294.


We sought to determine public perception surrounding Tourette syndrome through viewers' responses to videos on YouTube. The top 20 videos on YouTube for search terms Tourette's, Tourette's syndrome, Tourette syndrome and tics were selected. The portrayal of Tourette syndrome was assessed as positive, negative, or neutral. Top 10 comments for each video were graded as "sympathetic," "neutral," or "derogatory." A total of 14 970 hits were obtained and 41 videos were retained, with an average of 590 113 views (1369 to 13 747 069) and 1761 comments (0 to 35 241). Twenty-two percent of videos retained portrayed Tourette syndrome negatively, 20% were neutral and 59% positive. Negative portrayals were significantly associated with more views (Spearman correlation rho = -.46, P =.003) and comments (Spearman correlation rho = -.47, P = .002). Although excellent examples of Tourette syndrome are available on YouTube, the popularity of negative portrayals may reinforce existing stigma in society.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Social Perception*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tics / psychology
  • Tourette Syndrome / psychology*
  • Videotape Recording
  • Young Adult